Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 20, 2019  6:30 am. PST

Inside Sesame Issue Index
Switch to Keyword/Topic Index | Subscriber Express Index

2004  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016  2017  2018

As issues of Inside Sesame are published, their contents are added to our Keyword/Topic index and Issue (this) index. The Issue index is organized by year and month of issue and includes a description of the contents of each issue. The Keyword/Topic index is organized by keyword, much like the index in the back of a book. A special Subscriber Express Search Index also available to Inside Sesame subscribers. This database can be searched by keyword, topic, article title, author and various other criteria to locate the issues in which the search criteria occur. Subscribers can then view those issues immediately.

Ordering Back Issues...
Back issues are $25.00 each. (Current subscribers receive a 20% discount.) Note the order code(s) of the back issue(s) you wish to order. At the Order Form, you will be able to select them from the Back Issue pick-list.

January 2005 issue summary. . .[order code JAN 05]

Special 15-page issue (download file this month)

Building a Report with Multiple Group Breaks
With the release of Sesame 1.1, Sesame’s report capabilities got a major boost. You can now easily line up grand totals with report columns, control the spacing between your groups, subtotal on multiple value breaks, draw lines above your totals, stack multiple summaries (like Count and Sum) under the same column, create multiline headers and more, all without programming. Find out how in this tutorial article.

Creating Custom Menus, Part 2
Last month, with Part 1 of this article, the subscriber download file contained a sample application named Design Tips illustrating the basics of designing and using custom menus in Sesame. With this Part 2, you’ll find a new version of the application in your download file that includes all the basics from Part 1 plus what you’ll need to expand your custom menu into a full-fledged custom menu system. Design_tips.db included in this month's subscriber download file.

A Kinder and Gentler (and Simpler) WordMerge
Among the various ways to print merge documents containing Sesame data, the “Cadillac” way is to program the form to generate a merge data file, then pass that file to a merge document such as you might create in Microsoft Word. For many users, though, the programming to do this is complex and requires quite a lot of work to modify for a new application. But now, with Sesame 1.1, it just got a whole lot simpler. WordMerge2005.db is included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Records Locked During Mass Update — Here's what happens when you're running a Mass Update and another user is looking at one of your records.

  • Sesame Sample Files — Are there more sample applications available than the ones that come bundled with Sesame? They're on their way.

  • Getting Data from Parent to Subform — And vice versa. Here's how to use @FormFieldValue() to pass data between any forms you have open.

  • "Just Like Q&A" — You will excuse us if we momentarily vent our spleen.

  • Copying Records — The Shift-F5 "Ditto Record" key works only under certain conditions. Here's a handy new Sesame 1.1 feature you can use when it doesn't.

  • Temporary Changes to Reports — Remember in good old Q&A for DOS how you could run a report with temporary changes? Sesame's Report writer doesn't offer this feature, but you can accomplish the same thing if you know a few tricks.

  • Right-Align Number/Money Fields — Got a column of number or money fields on your form that you want to align on the decimal point or just display flush right? Here's how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • When a Mass Update "Skips" Records — Oh, you didn't know this can happen? If you use Sesame in a shared-application environment, this tip could save your hide.

  • When Static LE's Aren't So Static — Did you know that your programming can dynamically change the contents of a static layout element? Here's how, and why you might want to.

Available Now for Sesame 1.1

Inside Sesame's revolutionary...
Printing mailing & shipping labels in Sesame
is about to get easy —
real easy
  • Merge print your Sesame data directly to any Avery mailing or shipping label sheet (or define your own label sheet). 60 importable label templates included

  • Add the LabelWiz printer to any Sesame form in minutes. No programming to write

  • No exporting required. No external programs to deal with. Simply choose your label from a pop-up list when you're ready to run a label printing job

  • Use your favorite font. Customize your labels with an image, border, fixed text, postal bar code

  • Print one label at a time or an entire batch

  • Start printing at any label position on the sheet

  • Print labels to any installed/shared printer

See more...

February 2005 issue summary. . .[order code FEB 05]

Special 16-page issue (download file this month)

Sorting a Line-Items Form
Some types of database forms are more useful if the data in them can be sorted to suit. Examples are the line-items in invoice, sales order, or purchase order records.  This article shows you how to add a built-in sort options menu to such forms so that you can sort them in various was, such as by stock number, item description, and bin number. Application included in this month's download file.

Changing Your Reports On-the-Fly
How do you go about making "temporary changes" to a Sesame report as you could with a Q&A report? Not only does Sesame allow you to change the included records and sorting of your reports at will, you can also call on SBasic to ask questions, collect information, or even change the content of your report on-the-fly, such as turning a detail report into a "totals only" report and vice versa. This article shows what it takes, using some practical report examples.

Replace Text Boxes with Smarter Elements in Translated Databases
After translating a Q&A database, some kinds of fields lend themselves surprisingly well to more advanced and easier to use form widgets such as combo and list boxes, check boxes and even radio button groups.  Here's how to recognize the kinds of fields that can be better served by these more powerful widgets, and how to go about "upgrading" them.

Create an Auto-Complete Text Box
Your browser does it, Outlook does it, Quicken does it — lots of modern programs do it. They save you keystrokes by following what you're typing, guessing at what you'll type next, and offering to automatically complete the line, word or phrase for you. A little clever programming is all it takes to make Sesame do it for you, too.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Translation and Naming Problems — An overview of the things on your forms that must have names, and how to set and change those names. The differences between Q&A and Sesame when it comes to naming things.

  • Where are My Macros and Export Files? — In a multi-user environment, where does Sesame put the export files and macros you create on a workstation? And when do you need to take this into account?

  • Sesame's Capacities and Limits — So just how much data can you stuff into a Sesame field, a record, a database, or an application?

  • Converting Complex Q&A Applications — Tips and strategies when preparing to migrate a sophisticated Q&A application to Sesame.

  • Subtracting Dates from Earlier Dates — There's a trick to this. If you get a horrifically large number, you're not using it.

  • Things Not Working in Preview Mode — Here's what doesn't work in Designer's Preview mode as opposed to Sesame runtime.

  • Subforms and Reports — The basic rules you need to know when designing reports in a multi-database application containing subforms.

  • Novell Network Setup — You can keep your Novell server and network, but here's what else you'll need if you're planning on running Sesame across that network.

  • Macro Unloading — How do you automatically unload a macro after your programming has loaded and run it?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Save Time When Converting In-Use Databases — If you ever need to work on a translated Q&A database while users continue to pound away on the old one in Q&A, this tip could save you a lot of frustration when the time comes to port the most current data into the new app.

  • Using 'Add to Current Results' — This unassuming little Sesame feature makes building the perfect result set a breeze.

  • Use 'ThisElement' to Reduce Programming Maintenance — and reduce programming overhead, too. What is the ThisElement? Is it a command, a function, a special programming keyword? Whatever it is, you can use it to make your programs more generic and less apt to fail following form redesigns.

March 2005 issue summary. . .[order code MAR 05]

Special 18-page issue (download file this month)

Going Beyond Security with 'Roles'
Everybody knows you can use Application Security to keep people out. That’s what security is about — preventing people from doing certain things. You might want to do something more subtle, though, like let people in, but change the way your application behaves based on who is using it at the moment. That’s where Roles come in. This article shows two distinct methods for designing a roles feature in your applications. Sample applications in download file.

Drilling Down with Subforms
Drilling down means to move down through a hierarchical structure to get more information. In this case, the hierarchy consists of databases. In this article you'll start with a Client database that can have any number of orders connected to it, and an Orders database that can have any number of detail records (line-items). With this three-deep hierarchical structure — Client, Order, Order detail — you'll see how to set up your apps so your data entry people can "zoom in" and back out again to quickly find whatever they might need. Sample application in download file.

Auto-Scale and Center-Align Text with PrintString
Do you have special printing requirements where you need to print your PrintString text or an image center-aligned on the page, in a column, or on labels, or scale the font size up or down until the text fits centered on one line? Now you can do either — or both — automatically. Here's what it takes.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Formatting Names in Initial Caps — Sesame doesn't have an "Initial Caps" format setting like Q&A, but you can get initial caps — and a whole heck of lot more —with a little easy programming.

  • Problems with Keyword Retrieve — Here's what can cause a Keyword search to fail, and the quick and easy remedy.

  • Security Issues with Medical Records — There are stringent regulations that apply to all medical record-storing software applications. What can Sesame do — and what can't it do — to help you comply.

  • Security and XLookups — All your XLookups were working just fine until you added password protection to the application. How can adding security cause XLookups to fail, and what does it take to get everything back on track?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Retrieving for Prior Months — Here's a really nifty way to retrieve records dated last month, the month before, and up to 12 months prior to the current date.

  • The Incredible Portable Sesame — Unlike most any other Windows program, Sesame will run fine from a portable USB flash drive. Here's the scoop.

  • Print the Current Record, Nicely Formatted — Sesame can print the current record for you, but doesn't give you much control over what the output looks like. With a little programming, though, you can print out a neatly formatted, highly-readable record, in the font and size of your choice, complete with a page header and page numbers.

April 2005 issue summary. . .[order code APR 05]

Another Blockbuster 18-page issue
(You're working us to death!)

Creating Crosstab Reports
Since Sesame was first released, many folks have told us that they simply cannot live without their Q&A for DOS crosstab reports. Although Sesame itself doesn't do crosstabs, we'll show you how, in a few easy steps, to generate them using your Sesame data and Microsoft Excel pivot tables.

An Online Q&A-to-Sesame Sidekick
Still got a few Q&A databases you've been meaning to convert to Sesame? Doing Q&A-to-Sesame conversions for others? You can make it a lot easier on yourself. We review a powerful new online application that generates a data dictionary for any Q&A 4.0/5.0 for DOS database.

Making a Wizard in Sesame
When a user needs to perform a particular task step-by-step, providing them with a "wizard"-like interface, where they can go "Next" or "Back" and complete the steps in the correct order, can really help. We show you how with a nifty little travel reservation application. Application included in this month's download file.

Banish the Black Box with @Asynchshell
Tired of having that black "DOS box" flash on your screen every time you shell out to run a batch file, a command line command, or another program? Chances are you can have the same quality of life (and computing) without it!

WordMerge Made Even Easier
WordMerge, an application that ships with Sesame, offers an easy point-and-click way to merge your Sesame data with Microsoft Word merge docs, labels or envelopes. Recently, WordMerge got an overhaul and is now streamlined to make it even easier to install and use in a application. Here's the lowdown. Application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Managing Lengthy Picklists in the Program Editor — Here's how to make those lengthy picklists easier to deal with in programming.

  • More on Managing Lengthy Lists — Some handy tips on managing the content of your picklists outside the Program Editor.

  • Date Retrieves and Blank Date Fields — When you do a less-than retrieve on a date field in Sesame, you get the records you need plus any where the date field is blank. If you don't want the latter included, here's what you need to do.

  • Correcting Imported "Feet-and-Inches" Data — When you export a field containing feet-and-inches data (such as a person's height) from Q&A, then import the file into Sesame, you might not get the result you expected. Here's what to do about, plus a tip on validating feet-and-inches entries to ensure consistency.

  • Create a Phone Number Template — Want to apply a template to a phone number field so the data is in a (215) 598-8440 format? Here's how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Simple, Goofproof Data Validation — When you need to make sure certain fields are filled before the record can be saved — and control a host of other user actions — there's an SBasic command that towers above all others.

  • How to Prevent PrintString "Text Clipping" — Under certain conditions, lengthy bits of text printed with PrintString can wind up truncated along the right margin. Here's what causes it and how to make sure it never happens.

May 2005 issue summary. . .[order code MAY 05]

Special 16-page issue

Debugging Your SBasic Programming
Spending too long wrestling with those nasty little programming bugs? Find 'em and squish 'em fast with these six proven techniques. Guaranteed to make your programming experience less frustrating, more rewarding.

What They Didn't Tell You About PrintString
When should you use WordMerge? When is PrintString the more sensible choice? And what doesn't the Sesame Programming Guide tell you about PrintString that can help you be more successful with it right from the get-go? Sample application in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • XLookup Problems with "&" — If your looking up any data that might contain an ampersand ("&") in it — such as a company named "Smith & Jones" — Sesame could botch the job. Here's how to guard against such failures without having to modifying your data.

  • Protecting Data with Mirror Variables — Here's a nifty — and simple — technique that temporarily stores your important field values in variables on record entry and compares them against what's in those same fields on record exit. You can use this to protect those fields from changes. This is also a good recap of the differences between the three types of Sesame variables.

  • Setting Unique Values in Add or Update Modes — Sometimes you may not want to assign a unique ID value to a record automatically when you first add it. And when you finally do assign the ID, you want to make sure it is unique. What's a good way to handle a case like this?

  • Switch Between Different Views of the Same Record — Need one form to  store and display all the data, and a second form designed for printing only? Here's how to program a button to toggle back and forth between the same record in the two forms with nothing more than a mouse click. Sample application in this month's download file.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Open Your Apps in Both Add and Search Modes Simultaneously — How can you make it so that when you open an application, Sesame automatically gives you convenient click-on tabs for both Add Data and Search/Update so you don't have to use the command tree at all to switch modes?

  • Assigning Statics in the Declaration Part — A Risky Business — If you're in the habit of declaring a variable and assigning it an initial value in the same statement, you're asking for it. Under certain conditions, that variable could get a unexpected value and really gum up the works.

  • How to Restrict Entries in a Combo Box — A combo box is a pick-list with the option of typing in a value. How do retain the convenience of the combo box while restricting users to just the items already on the list?

  • Correct Programming Errors in Sequence — If you receive multiple errors when testing your programming, here's the right way to go about fixing the problem.

  • "Subscriber Express Index"? — The Heck's That? — You mean you've never used Inside Sesame's Subscriber Express Index to find what you're after in the back issues?! Well, get with it, Edna! It could save you loads of time!

June 2005 issue summary. . .[order code JUN 05]

Special 18-page issue

Lookup Tables Great and Small
Q&A-to-Sesame translations include translation of an existing lookup table, though what you get isn't quite the same as a Q&A-style lookup table. What's more, Sesame doesn't support lookup tables in your new applications. Need a real lookup table or two in your application? This article will tell you how to do it, including how to have great big lookup tables, and even program the equivalents of all four of Q&A's lookup commands — Lookup(), @Lookup(), LookupR() and @LookupR(). Sample applications in this month's download file.

Sunlock — What It's All About (and What It's Not About)
When you should use Sunlock (Sesame Unlock) to unlock an application, when it won't do you a bit of good if you do, and when it's actually dangerous to use it.

Align Mini-Report Columns
Sesame's WriteLn() window is a great tool for displaying mini-reports generated on-the-fly. But if it's a columnar-style report, how do you get the columns to line up vertically? Here's the trick.

Round Money & Numbers Predictably
Depending on your system settings and other factors, Sesame might not always round your numbers in a consistent and predictable fashion. What can you do about it?

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • More on '&' in Search and Automated Search Lists — If you're looking up any data that might contain an ampersand ("&") in it — such as a company named "Smith & Jones" — you might get unexpected results. Here's how to guard against such problems without having to modifying your data.

  • Q&A Print Specs vs. Freeform Reports — How to design a simple Sesame report that mimics Q&A's ability to print multiple records down the page in a freeform format.

  • Enter Records in the First Field — A reader wants to set Sesame up so that the cursor always starts out in the first field of every record. We show him how to do it.

  • Retrieving 'Templated' Data — If you design a template for your data, such as a special phone number format, it will change the way you must search that field. Find out what it takes.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Track Critical Updates with a Running Change Log — Got a few fields that need to remain editable but also need any changes to them carefully tracked, so you can find out what the value was before it was changed, when it was changed, and what it was changed to? Here's an effective way to do it.

  • Associate Your .db Files with Sesame — You're browsing your Sesame data folder in My Computer and spot a .db file you don't recognize and would like to take a quick look at what's in it. But you can't simply double-click on it to open it unless you know the trick.

July 2005 issue summary. . .[order code JUL 05]

Special 15-page issue

Instant Database Photo Capture & Photo ID Cards
Need a way to take photos of people and immediately capture them — already sized and cropped — into your database records? Pretty complicated, right? Nope. Take the shot. Save it. Capture it. Easy as 1-2-3. Then print out a nice-looking photo ID card, to boot. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Add Developer Comments to Your Applications
Remember that F6 Description key you could press in Q&A to add a brief comment or description to your database? Sesame doesn't have a similar feature, but we'll show you a couple clever ways to add developer comments to your application, anyway. And they don't have to be brief, either.

Notes — How to Prevent Users from 'Rewriting History'
If your application has one or more large fields for notes, history, comments or the like, and you don't want people going back in and altering them after the fact, here's how you can password-protect such fields so that anyone can add to, view or print the notes or history, but only a supervisor can revise them. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Sort External Text Files On-the-Fly
Do you work with text files — import/export files or the like? You might not think Sesame has the power to sort files like this with a click of a button, but it can. How about a 2,000-line file sorted in 1 second flat? Believe it. We also show how to import external files into a database without going through Sesame's Import facilities.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Sesame Server Won't Restart — If you ever do a forced shutdown of Sesame Server, then try to restart it, you may be scratching your head. What do you do when Sesame Server won't restart? The solution is surprisingly simple.

  • One Picklist Fills Two Fields — A single Sesame picklist can be designed to fill two fields at the same time, not only saving time, typing and navigation, but reducing the chance of data entry goofs as well.

  • Custom Command Button Labels — Here's how to dress up your command buttons with cool little graphic icons.

  • Renaming Sesame Tabs — You don't have to live with a Sesame tab that reads Add Data Main Menu. You can change it to Acme Products Main Menu if you like. Here's how.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Find and Delete Those Orphans — Orphaned subrecords no longer linked to a main or parent record can cause reports to give wrong answers. Where do orphans come from? How do you know if you have them? And how can you quickly find and delete them?

  • Turn a Restrict List into Combo Box Options — Sesame-style combo boxes  can make a more user-friendly alternative to cumbersome field restrictions. And converting restrictions to combo box options is a snap if you know the trick.

August 2005 issue summary. . .[order code AUG 05]

Special 18-page issue

Instantly Copy Anything to the Windows Clipboard
Need a fast way to copy the contents of the field your in to the clipboard? How about copying a group of fields, such as a complete name & address block? Maybe you need to auto-copy a slew of fields to the clipboard and have Sesame auto-start the program you want to paste them into. No problem — click a button and it's done. If you're familiar with WinClip for Q&A, this is like WinClip on steroids — faster, simpler, and more customizable. With a single click you can even assemble finished merge letters and automatically pull up Word or WordPad to paste and print them. Watch out WordMerge! Sample application in this month's download file.

New Features are Popping Up All Over!
What's in the works for 2.0? Hold onto your hat! Here's a sneak peek at a few of the powerful new features on the drawing board for Sesame 2.0. This look inside the 2.0 development process is the first in what we hope to make a series over the coming months.

Recipe for Mock Dialog Boxes
A dialog box does much more than a picklist or an @Askuser or @PromptForUserInput box. It's more like a pop-up mini-form that prompts the you to supply multiple bits of information or make several choices before clicking OK. Could your application use a time- and space-saving user guidance feature like this? You can design one or several mock dialog boxes to go with any Sesame form. Here's how. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Building a Sales Breakdown Report
Advanced sales analysis reports can require things like multiple group breaks, subcounts, subtotals, percentages, averages, and grand counts and totals at the end. This in-depth article shows you how to build such a report a step at a time. The report example shown at any step in the process might be just the one you need. You'll also discover some report options you may not know you had — including how to turn a detail report into a summary or totals-only report — as well as a few tricks you can do with just a smidgen of programming. Sample application included in this month's download file.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Running a 'No Match' Comparison Between Two Databases — Suppose you need to know what's in Database A that isn't in Database B — such as car buyers who haven't yet come in for their periodic maintenance service. It's easy if you know how to use your Sesame tools.

  • Accessing Applications Across the Internet — A reader who just purchased a second business wants to know how he can have access to either company's applications from either physical location. Here's what it takes.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Can't XPost/Append with a Newline — Suppose you want to post to a multi-line comments or notes field in an external database. You want to append to the notes that are already in the target field by adding a blank line followed by the new note. How come can't you do this directly? What's the workaround?

  • What's That Variable For? — You find yourself with a bunch of variables declared at the beginning of a program. There are a couple with similar names or you just aren't sure if you've actually used a particular variable anywhere in the program. Is there a quick and easy way to check without having to slog through 100 lines of code?

September 2005 issue summary. . .[order code SEP 05]

Special 16-page issue

'Mini-Reports' Organize and Display External Data
A customer calls to place a new order, so you pull up their customer record. You find that you need some additional information from several previous orders. Problem is, that information is in another application. Find out why more and more Sesame developers are using pop-up mini-reports for users who need instant access to summary information from external databases, whether or not they're in the same application. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Faster, Easier Reports Coming in 2.0!
What's in the works for 2.0? Hold onto your hat! Here's a sneak peek at Quick Reports — a powerful new feature that lets users create, run, and optionally save instant reports on demand without having to take a trip to Sesame Designer and without reconciling.

Simplify Your Application Menu Tree
How's your application's main menu tree looking? Overgrown with so many databases that it's difficult to easily spot the form you need to open? Here's how to clean up and simplify your menu tree so that it looks and works more like a Q&A-style main menu. 

Calculating Averages — Sesame vs. Q&A
Did you know that Sesame computes averages differently than Q&A? Q&A ignores blank fields. Sesame doesn't. So if you're averaging a series of fields, you'd better know the right way to go about it or you may not get the result you expect. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Convert a Q&A-Style Lookup Table to a Sesame-Style Lookup Table
Got a lookup table in that Q&A database you're planning to translate? Or have you already translated one? Why not get rid of that separate lookup table database Sesame creates and start running your lookups from a real internal lookup table? It not only takes just a few easy steps to get faster lookups, your new Sesame-style lookup table can have far more power and versatility than the old Q&A one.

A Practical Guide to Q&A Translations
Don't jump headlong into a Q&A-to-Sesame translation without first knowing how to prepare your Q&A database for a trouble-free migration. Here's everything you need to know — post-translation as well as pre-translation — in a practical step-by-step guide.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Reconcile vs. Save As New Application — What, exactly, are the differences between reconciling an application and saving it as a new application? When should you use one over the other? Here's the lowdown.

  • Redesign Current Application vs. Open in Designer — There are two distinct approaches to making design changes to an application. The one you choose depends on the result you want.

  • Reconciling Design Changes on a Network — What do you do when Sesame won't let you reconcile design changes across the network to an existing application.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • The Smart Way to Change Navigation Order — Working with the Set Navigation Order list can be a real pain when you need to move new elements to the end of the navigation order. This tip makes it easy.

  • Avoid Double Quote Marks in WordMerge Data — Double quotes in your Sesame data can spell big trouble with WordMerge. Here's a handy workaround that retains those double quotes without causing Word to throw a fit.

October 2005 issue summary. . .[order code OCT 05]

Special 14-page issue

Replace Table View with Quick Screen Reports
Sesame's built-in Table View option lets you browse multiple records in a spreadsheet-like view during data entry and searching, but it can be too inflexible and lack the refinements to suit your needs. If you need a custom read-only table view where you have total control over the look of the table (fonts, column widths, etc.) and which fields to show, check out this quick screen report alternative.

Right-Align Text, Numbers and Money with PrintString
PrintString prints everything left-aligned and doesn't offer built-in options to print your data centered or right-aligned on the page or within columns. But with a little know-how (and the secret formula), you can print text, numbers and money flush right where they'll neatly align on the last character or on the number/money commas and decimal points. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Extra Special 'X'-Commands
Sesame 2.0 will come with some brand new and very powerful new "X" family (XLookup,XPost, etc.) commands. These tap directly into your databases and fields instead of going through forms and elements, and even include one that adds new records to an external database automatically, on-the-fly. Check 'em out.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Instant 'To-Date' Totals in Unbound Elements — Got multiple records for the things you track, and you want any one of them, when displayed, to show grand counts and/or totals across all the related records? Tough requirement, but Sesame makes it easy. Here's how. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Make a Multiline Field Always Show the First Line — When you use programming to add data to the top of a multiline field, and there's already data in that field, Sesame will show the older data instead of the newer. Here's the quick fix.

  • Easier 'Not-Blank' Retrievals — Normally, you type "/=" in a field to find the records where that field is blank. Can it get any easier? Yes it can using this undocumented trick.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Emailing Made Easier — Want to be able to click a button on your Sesame form and have your email program automatically start with the recipient's address already filled in? Try this tip.

  • Avoid Retyping Layout Element and Variable Names — Here are two good reasons why you should copy and paste your LE and variable names into your program instead of typing them.

  • Use @XListValues Sparingly — If you're populating List or Combo boxes on-the-fly with data from external databases, chances are your application is taking a performance hit every time you move from one record to another. Here's the smart way to go about it.

November 2005 issue summary. . .[order code NOV 05]

Special 14-page issue

Why Make 10 Reports When One Will Do?
Report proliferation is a problem in many companies. Too many reports. So many, that when somebody needs to run a report, they can't find the one they need, so they make another one. Pretty soon... well, you get the idea. Here are some good suggestions for keeping report proliferation to a minimum, including how to make a single report do the work of many with a simple user prompt. Sample application included in this month's download file.

One Way to Keep a Big App from Getting Bigger
You can stuff as many databases, forms, reports and programs into an application as you like. Sesame won't mind. But as you continue to pack it in, you'll notice slower load times and delays when opening forms. There are many ways to keep a bloated app from getting that way. Here's one.

New Programming Commands Coming in Sesame 2.0
Among other awesome new features, Sesame 2.0 will be graced with 90-some new programming commands, along with new options for existing commands and new constructs like #include for code libraries and #define for substitution. If you're an inside or outside developer, some of them might be just what the doctor ordered for your planned applications. Check 'em out.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • WordMerging Multi-line Text Fields Containing Line Breaks — Suppose you need to pass the contents of a multi-line field to MS Word for a WordMerge, and you want to maintain your line breaks (paragraphing) as entered in the field. How do you go about it? We give you three options.

  • Maintaining Several Combo Box Lists — A reader uses several combo boxes with lengthy lists that change every so often. She hates having to go into Designer to update these lists and wants to make it easier. We don't just sympathize, we show how to make it tons easier.

  • Programming the Last Element on a Form — In a form's final element, On-Element-Exit, On-Element-Change and On-Form-Change events won't fire because the focus won't leave the field in the normal course of data entry. There are two solutions. One might be obvious. The other might surprise you.

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Give Your 'X' Commands a Fighting Chance — XLookups and the like can fail for no other reason than a "special character" occurring somewhere in the data. Here's a handy User Defined Function (UDF) that keeps an eye out for all these little gotchas and handles them on-the-fly. Just plug it in wherever you're retrieving external data.

  • Beware of WriteLn and Huge Values — The WriteLn() window is a terrific tool for debugging programming and seeing what values your functions and commands are producing. But something unexpected can happen that'll throw you for a loop if a return value exceeds a certain limit. Find out what that is and how to smoothly sail around it.

December 2005 issue summary. . .[order code DEC 05]

Special 15-page issue

The Four Programming Functions They Forgot
Dates, Times, Money, Numbers — the four data types that can produce head-scratching results when used in programming to display, print or write data out to a file. Here's a fistful of handy user-defined functions that automatically custom-format these troublesome data types for you on-the-fly, and you can drop them right into your applications without typing a single line of code. Sample applications included in this month's download file.

Upgrading a Text Box to a Combo Box
There's hope yet for that plain old manual data entry text box. It might just be a candidate for upgrading to a modern click-n-pick combo box. Want effortless data entry, type-ahead functionality, support for dynamically-generated lists and an easy way to control what goes into your records? A combo box can do it all — in 10 minutes or less to convert that old text box.

Sesame Charts — When and Where You Want 'Em
Sesame 2.0 is headed down the tracks toward your home or office in 2006. Among it's new and features and functionality you'll find exciting color graphing and charting capabilities that'll give you unprecedented ways to view and analyze your data in ways reports alone just can't provide. In this fifth installment in our 2.0 Sneak Peek series you'll see some of these new charting options.

Use Mass Update to Prototype Your Programming
Why go to all the trouble of starting Designer, opening the right application and form, then switching to Preview mode (where your X-commands won't work) when all you want to do is test a bit of brilliant programming to see how brilliant it really is. Why not run that code right where you are in Sesame Runtime. We show you how.

_______________You ask. We answer.

  • Create Your Own Field Templates — Want to custom format your phone numbers, social security numbers or the like with dashes or whatever but can't find the "Field Template" facilities? Here they are — they're called subroutines. And in one important way they're much smarter than Q&A-style templates. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Having a Tough Time Searching Yes/No Fields? — It's easy as pie but there's a teensy trick to it. It's like riding a bike. Once you get it right you'll never forget how.

  • Sesame Slow to Bring Up the File / Open List — You want to open an application — today, not tomorrow. But you're waiting — and waiting — for the File / Open dialog to display. (Geez, Sesame. C'mon already!) But it isn't Sesame at all — it's what you've put into your Rootdirs.ini file. What the heck is that? Well, you're about to find out. Fix it, and your File / Open dialog will come up in the blink of an eye.

  • Tab Page Not Filling Form Area — A reader wants to know what's all that empty white space around her colorful custom tab pages and how she can get rid of it.

  • Enhance Report Totals & Subtotals in Headers & Footers — This reader wants to include the group's name with its subcount at each break in the report. Sesame prints the subtotal all right, but with the subsequent group's name next to it. Not good. How do you get it straightened out?

_______________Technical tidbits you can use today

  • Check For and Trap Date Errors — Got a programming procedure that utterly depends on a valid date being supplied, and need a safe way out of that procedure if it's absent? In some cases, determining whether or not you got a valid date takes more than you might think.

  • Grand Totaling Subreport Values — What's the trick to getting an overall  run-of-report grand total when the data for that grand total can come only from the subform records? Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Keep Report Files from Piling Up — Every time you run a report, Sesame creates a new file in your file system for it. Pretty soon those files start piling up. Do you really need to keep all those files? If not, here's what you can do about it without having to resort to manual "periodic maintenance."

  • Pivot Table Magic — Thinking about how useful a few Q&A for DOS-style crosstab reports would be? Sesame doesn't do crosstabs, but here's how you can get them in spades simply by exporting your data to MS Excel.